We were expecting it this Monday: NASA has just unveiled a first video of the Perseverance rover landing on Mars on February 18!
You know, Perseverance, the rover of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, successfully landed on the Red Planet this Thursday, February 18. A few seconds after its touch, the researchers of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory discovered, at the same time as us, the first two images returned by the navigation camera of the rover. Then, a few hours later, NASA revealed other incredible photos, including one showing Perseverance from above (header image), as the descent stage prepares to drop it off at the ground. This image was actually a preview of the video that NASA showed on Monday.
These images naturally took a little while to reach us, as Perseverance is gradually uploading this data to the probe. Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which in turn relays them to the antenna network Deep space network from NASA. Note that from its landing site in Jezero Crater, the rover can send up to two megabits of data per second to the orbiting MRO. We let you enjoy:
These images are just the start. Indeed, remember that the mission is normally supposed to last at least two years during which Perseverance will be able to send us many pretty postcards, just like Curiosity has been doing there since 2012. Ultimately, we should even be able to appreciate videos in 4K Perseverance Travels. Of course, this is not the primary objective of this mission, but it is by sharing this type of images that NASA, and other agencies or operating companies, will be able to multiply the public’s enthusiasm for the space sector. .
What are the next steps ?
We know that the rover landed about 1.7 km from the center of its intended landing zone, in a relatively smooth “parking space”. After spending several days checking all of the rover’s instruments, JPL researchers will install Perseverance’s driving and navigation software. These operations should take an additional three to four days before they can begin to move on the surface. The objective will be to reach an old delta, located two kilometers away, where traces of life could be preserved.
In the meantime, NASA should normally focus on the first test flight of the small Ingenuity helicopter.